Punch block

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During an Intermediate Single Sword class, Peter the Quick's demonstrative shot is blocked by the other fighter's weapon hand.

Punch block is a defensive technique in which a fighter uses a closed hand to block a weapon or punch it away, typically with a melee weapon held in that hand. This is most properly done when wielding a weapon with a hand guard, using a punch shield, or wearing an armored glove or gauntlet. Because a hand on a weapon is part of that weapon, many Belegarth fighters prefer punch blocking with protective athletic gloves like lacrosse gloves; newer fighters even punch block bare-knuckled. Hand protection is recommended even if players do not plan to punch block, because a sword block positioned just off enough can end up becoming a punch block.

Risk of Injury

  • Rule 3.3.5 was intended to discourage fighters from targeting opponents' hands, as hands have various joints, thin bones, and tendons to easily injure. Punch blocking not only directs the energy of an opponent's shots to the hand, but adds opposing force to the interaction, raising the risk further. The most concern arises when punch blocks are used to stop Class 2 Weapon strikes. The following equipment helps to reduce this risk:
    • A punch shield
    • Weapons with hand guards
    • Lacrosse gloves
    • MMA grappling gloves
    • Armored gloves or gauntlets
    • Hand and wrist sleeves
    • Hand wraps (worn properly)
    • Cotton gloves (slight cushioning)
  • A punch block is essentially a punch. A punch block can easily become an accidental punch to the opponent, especially in close quarters.
  • Aside from the pivot form, punch blocks should never be used to block arrows as they can give the arrows new momentum and cause the unpadded part to hurt somebody.

Common Forms

To defend against an attack from the side, the fighter swipes their closer hand outward.
To defend against an attack from the side, the fighter swings the further hand inward or across their body. This is used with the backhand form to stop a heavier shot such as a red strike.
The fighter rolls their arm to place their fingers directly into the path of the incoming weapon. This is the only form that should be ever be used to punch block arrows.
The fighter extends their arm directly at the incoming weapon.


  • Punching something away is more intuitive than other blocks.
  • When punch blocking with a weapon, the intended blocking surface is consistently one's own hand. One doesn't need much weapon awareness to punch block. The skill transfers across weapons with similar weight and balance.
  • Most forms of punch block are strong because the fighter's entire arm is behind it. They are even stronger with proper body mechanics. Blocks further from the hand get less leverage.
  • Punch shields are made for punch blocking.
  • Although dangerous without it, no special equipment is necessary in order to punch block.
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